NAME THAT HERB - Katja Görts, DVM, CVA, CVC, CVCH
I am a perennial herb that is native to Europe but found throughout temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. My leaves, flowers, and root have been traditionally used in Mexican and other North American medicine for viral and bacterial infections, liver and biliary disorders, and cancer. I have also been used traditionally as tonic for various blood, circulatory, and digestive disorders.
From a TCVM point of view I belong to the category of Heat and Toxicity clearing herbs. I am cold, sweet and bitter and enter the Liver and Stomach channel. I clear Heat and Toxicity and Liver Heat. Western indications include red and painful eyes, boils and sores as I remove pus, lung abscesses, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes and jaundice. A traditional formula I appear in would be Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin.
Applicable are my above ground parts and root. My leaves and root contain among others quercetin and luteolin. These parts also have high potassium content. My roots contain caffeic acid, taraxacoside, taraxasterol, and large amounts of the polysaccharide inulin.
I am thought to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cytotoxic and apoptotic effects on cancer cells, anti-influenza viral properties and diuretic effects.
I am traditionally used to increase appetite and bile stimulation and reduce symptoms of dyspepsia, flatulence, and gallstones. I am thought to increase both bile production and flow, and as a cholagogue, it may exert a direct effect on the gallbladder, causing contraction.
My root contains large amounts of inulin and therefore enhances the growth of bifidobacteria and may be useful as a "prebiotic". My plant extract may have moderate hypoglycemic effects and might increase insulin secretion. I might also enhance immune system function.
Overdosing might cause diarrhea.
I am Pú Gōng yīng, taraxacum or dandelion.
- Xie H, Preast V, Xie´s Chinese Veterinary Herbology, 1st Ames, IA:Wiley-Blackwell, 2010
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